The Shortest Distance Between Us

Jan 13,2019

Gulf Photo Plus(GPP), Dubai’s centre for photography, has announced the headline exhibition for the GPP Photo Week 2019. The Shortest Distance Between Us: Stories from the Arab Documentary Photography Program will be presented by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), Alserkal Avenue and Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), in association with the Prince Claus Fund and Magnum Foundation.

The exhibition is curated by Jessica Murray of Al-liquindoi and will be showcased at Concrete in Alserkal Avenue.

It will feature curated works from different projects by seven photographers who were awarded grants and commissions by the Arab Documentary Photography Program (ADPP). ADPP which was established by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture in partnership with Magnum Foundation and the Prince Claus Fund, it provides support and mentorship to photographers from across the Arab region. The program has been an instrumental force in shaping and nurturing self-reflective documentary photography from the Arab world since 2014.

Working across a range of experimental styles of visual storytelling, the exhibition includes:

Stranded: On Life After Imprisonment by Elsie El Haddad, which follows men and women through their reentry into society after time in prison in Lebanon.
Intersections by Hicham Gardaf, in which Gardaf explores urban development in Morocco and its subsequent transformations on Moroccan society and identity.
Infertile Cresent by Nadia Bseiso, which follows a controversial pipeline that transports water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, exploring the effects of war and ecological turmoil in the once-fertile crescent of Mesopotamia.
Live, Love Refugee by Omar Imam, in which Imam puts the power into his subjects’ hands, asking Syrian refugees themselves to recreate and compose scenes of their dreams.
West of Life by Zied Ben Romdhane, in which the photographer explores the phosphate mining villages of Tunisia, where persists in spite of phosphate’s contribution to the Tunisian economy.
Moon Dust by Mohamed Mahdy, a project from Wadi El Qamar—Valley of the Moon—in Alexandria, in which the photographer shows the impact of toxic dust from a cement factory on its surrounding residential neighbourhood.
Homemade by Heba Khalifa (pictured above), a sobering and honest examination of having a female body and all the accompanying expectations and forms of abuse that one can endure as a result of one’s femaleness in Egyptian society.

In addition to the exhibition, the program will also be supported by artist talks and an edition of GPP Slidefest on February 5 featuring additional recipients from the past 4 years of the ADPP, allowing audience members to experience a wider array of documentary projects from the Arab region.

"Supporting homegrown artistic talent and their initiatives has always been part of Alserkal Avenue’s mandate. Gulf Photo Plus, as a longstanding partner of Alserkal Avenue, and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, are both pioneers in nurturing and cultivating the photography ecosystem in this part of the world." said Vilma Jurkute, Director of Alserkal Avenue."It is important for us to work with them for this next edition of GPP Photo Week, to serve as a platform to provide a voice for burgeoning photographers based in the GCC and Arab region."

The Shortest Distance Between Us: Stories from the Arab Documentary Photography Program will open in Concrete, Alserkal Avenue, on Monday, February 4th at 7:30 PM and will continue until February 9th.

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Image Courtesy: Supplied